A bright, dazzling smile not only makes you want to smile back, but also seems to automatically connect positive characteristics to the person who flashes that awesome smile. The person smiling, whether they’re a stranger or a friend, seems confident and attractive.
The superpowers of a smile don’t stop there. According to research from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, smiling not only makes you feel happier, but also boosts your immune system and may even add seven years to your lifespan.
Most of us have to work at getting and maintaining a white, healthy smile, and the older you get the harder it is to combat the effects of aging teeth like yellowing and discoloration. Our own Dr. Meriem Boukadoum, here at 54th Street Dental, explains why teeth can turn yellow as you get older — and what you can do about it.
The effects of aging on your teeth
Let’s jump into this discussion by providing a quick primer on your teeth’s anatomy and what that means in terms of aging and discoloration.
You probably know a little about the hard outer layer of your teeth called enamel. Dental enamel is predominantly made of a minerals, to the tune of 96%, and it’s the hardest substance in your body. These qualities allow enamel to perform two important roles: It protects the inner layers of your teeth, and it creates that beautiful luminous characteristic.
As you age, the natural wear and tear of chewing and years of constant bombardment of acidic foods and drinks takes a toll on your enamel, and it can crack, chip, and thin out. Although weakened enamel can affect teeth sensitivity, the issue with discoloration happens because worn out enamel allows the inner brownish tooth layer, called dentin, to show through.
Another yellowing effect comes from substances that can directly stain your teeth. Dark-colored beverages, like coffee, tea, and red wine, can leave some of their pigments behind, causing yellowing of your enamel. Smoking or chewing tobacco can create yellow staining, too.
Step up efforts to maintain oral health
While you can’t turn back the hands of time, you can lessen the effects of aging on your teeth by remaining vigilant with at-home oral care and by visiting us for regular checkups and professional cleanings.
Brushing, flossing, and eating a healthy diet with limited sugary and acidic foods and beverages will serve you well. You’ll not only stave off oral issues like cavities and gum disease, but will keep your enamel healthier for years to come. Now that’s something to smile about!
Getting your teeth whitened
If you have a special event coming up or just want to feel more confident about your smile, there are plenty of teeth-whitening options to choose from. If your teeth are sensitive or you have concerns about the health of your enamel, a good place to start is having a conversation with Dr. Boukadoum.
Getting the whitening results you want is really about what’s causing the dulling or staining of your teeth and what’s the best way to safely whiten for your particular oral health.
Here at 54th Street Dental, we perform in-office whitening using Philips Zoom! teeth whitening and we offer take-home whitening trays. What’s great about these two options is that they’re both dentist-directed with no guesswork.
Some patients prefer having us do all the work by scheduling a Zoom whitening appointment. Zoom uses laser technology to activate the whitening agent, and typically takes about an hour to whiten your teeth several shades in one session.
Other patients prefer to use our custom take-home trays and whitening kits to gradually whiten their teeth over the course of about two weeks or so.* We help select the best at-home whitening kit for your teeth and whitening goals and walk you through the treatment plan so you’ll know how long to wear your trays each day and for how many days.
If discolored or yellow teeth are affecting your self-esteem and self-confidence, book a consultation with us so we can help you brighten your smile and keep you smiling for many years to come. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking tool or call our office in Midtown West Manhattan in New York City.
* Individual results may vary.